Photographs by Sue Sadzak.
It’s been a while since I was at the Hoxton, and I forgot what an excellent venue it is for hip hop shows. The large hall with leather sofas and mini booths gives the illusion of a swanky nightclub, perfect for adding an extra touch of class to a show that suddenly became all ages.
Makonnen and his team certainly know how to throw a party. The Californian artist pushed himself to put on an excellent live show, and everything he did was well-received by the hordes of teens and hip hop lovers that filled the medium-sized Hoxton venue. The originally 19+ show became an all-ages event, encouraging the teens from the suburbs to come to the city for a night and show us how it’s really done.
Rocking the show with songs from his latest mixtape as well as some older tunes, Makonnen and his crew got the crowd hyped up and dancing, ready to hear his big hit– what really brought them there: “Tuesday.” The song released the beast in the audience, making everyone jump up and down, following the beat and the lights, going buck wild and having more fun than they knew how to handle.
One of the best shows I’ve ever been to was a hip hop show in Brooklyn, and I always think about the crowd there. I love hip hop shows for the energy the crowd always bring– an energy I can’t find at my usual head-bopping, arm-crossing indie shows where the audience mostly sways from side to side and gets drunk. Here, at the Hoxton last night, the audience was a big part of the show– if not the biggest. I’m not one for all ages shows, but this one delivered. If I had any doubts going in, they were quelled shortly by the amazing attitude the whole place brought. Everyone was happy, everyone was having a good time, and Makonnen’s set did not disappoint. Everybody loves a good dance jam, and that’s what we all got. Despite heightened security and a bigger audience, I found the whole venue to be respectful and eager for everyone to have a good time, just like Makonnen and his openers were eager to present a good time. The man’s got a fair bit of a following with his mixtapes, and every song was catchy and bouncy, getting everybody on their feet, all the time.
For someone not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised. Next time he’s in town, I will be ready, and I’ll get my own dance on.